Rising Star: Andrew Valentine

Revved up with the idea for a pay-as-you-go car hire company five years ago, Andrew Valentine has since steered his business Streetcar on to fast-track success.

Where did you get the idea?

I’ve always wanted to run my own company. My business partner [Brett Akker] and I were researching different options and we found the idea for a pay-as-you-go car hire company operating abroad. As no one was offering anything like that here, we started the company.

How did you get the funding?

It was though savings, loans and family. We also needed asset finance for the first cars and spoke to about 70 lenders before finding someone to provide us with it. In total we raised £60,000 in equity and £100,000 in loans.

How do you attract members?

It took us around three months to get 100 members. Now we sign up around 200 a day. Word of mouth helps tremendously. We get nearly half our new market in this way; the other half we attract through advertising.

What would you have done differently?

We had the great advantage of not knowing what had been done before to establish this sort of company, which helped us in taking risks. If I could do anything differently, it would have been to grow the company even faster than we already have.

Where next?

We have very ambitious plans to grow to 250,000 members by 2012 and are looking at international expansion into 40 new markets.

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